Back into hiding …

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So I bravely stuck the tip of my toe into the water of being gut-wrenchingly open and transparent on this blog.  And I have to say, I’m feeling way too vulnerable and afraid.

Knowing that my readers have no idea what has happened in my life over the past two+ years, leaves a lot of room for misunderstandings and judgments.  But I’m not currently — if ever — ready to reveal what’s been happening.  It’s too personal, too scary, and also involves people who I feel I don’t have the right to tell their stories publically for them.

Let’s just say I’ve lived through my worst nightmares and am still trying to find my way to a life worth living again.

As there are so few people still reading this blog (less than a handful from the blog stats), I’m just going to go back to privately journaling and regaining my sense of self and personal well-being.

I’d thought that perhaps sharing my own painful journey of healing might be beneficial to others.  And I’ve heard from several folks that it has been helpful for them.  But if sharing my successes and steps forward (and my failures and steps backward) bring me to a place of pain and fear again, then it’s probably not in my best interests at the moment to be that open.  Perhaps later?  Maybe.  Perhaps not.

I may still share things from time to time here.  Photos, poetry, funny stories.  But the vulnerable sides of me will be kept for my personal journal.

Thanks for being there and being understanding.  Sorry I’m being flaky about this blog, but part of the reason I started sharing a little bit again was to figure out if it was a good outlet for me or not.  “Not” is the answer, I guess.

Take care.

~Debi

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How my parents met …

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My grandparents front yard on Yarrow Point looking across Yarrow Bay to the Lake Washington Shipyards. The Kalakala ferry was being worked on at the time of this photo.

by Debi (written a couple of years ago)

My parents married in September (I think), but the anniversary they celebrated was the day they met. Opening Day of boating season (which happens to also be Derby Day). I always thought it was romantic and sweet how they celebrated the day they met, which is a bit ironic because “romantic” and “sweet” aren’t words I’d really use to describe my parents. Or their relationship. I knew them when they were older and settled, however, and no longer the romantics they evidently were in their youth.

Dad’s parents lived on the shores of Lake Washington, directly across Yarrow Bay from the old Houghton Shipyards where Grandma and Grandpa met. Many years before, he’d been the Shipyard Superintendent and she was working in the office, the shipyard’s first female employee. They picked Yarrow Point for building their dream house because the property looked directly at the place where they’d met. I guess romantic notions about first meetings run in our family.

Grandma Dad Mom on Como

Grandma, Mom, Dad, and Buttons the dog on the Como Reto.

So, back to that monumental Opening Day when my parents met.  Monumental for me, anyway.  There’d be no me without that meeting.  Mom was on a date with the son of some friends of my grandparents. The young man’s folks had taken them out boating on the lake, and the four of them stopped by to visit my grandparents. My dad was on the dock getting their family’s yacht, Como Reto, ready for the Opening Day festivities, when suddenly off their friends’ boat stepped my mom. I was never told if it was love at first sight, but it certainly sounds like sparks flew. Later that evening, my mom and dad ran into each other again at the Queen City Yacht Club’s annual dance. And the rest, so they say, is history.

According to Grandma, that other young man’s mother bore a grudge against my mom for years. The nerve of my mom dumping that woman’s son on Opening Day. My mom—breaking hearts since 1957.

Life’s what happens
when you make other plans.

Facing my fears …

“You faced something that frightened you, and you approached it with strength and the willingness to deal with it directly. This is pretty much the theme of what you’ve been working on over the past few months.”

This was spoken to me by my therapist as she walked me to the elevator this afternoon. Wow. I hadn’t even realized that I had a “theme” in therapy. I thought my theme was staying alive. Seriously.

“Your focus, at first, was survival, but you turned a corner a while back. You’ve been working on moving ahead with strength, courage, and purpose. You’ve been looking deeply at issues and traumas from your past, and you’ve been able to leave those things behind and move on into a different future.”

Wow. Sometimes it just takes someone else to reflect my life back at me to be able to see things clearly.

I knew I was making progress. I knew I was facing my fears. I knew I was tackling painful memories. I knew I was working on rebuilding purpose. I knew I was sensing renewed hope.

But just knowing those things in an abstract way wasn’t as real to me as it was hearing someone articulate the very same things to me. Someone who’s been walking with me through the current trials and traumas.

I had been listening in the car on my way to my appointment to a CD of a lecture. It was by one of my favorite poets, David Whyte. He’d been talking about the idea of things that scare us — that we refuse to look at — as being things we throw into a black bag that we carry around with us throughout our lives. When we’re children, the black bag is small enough, it can fit on our belt. As life goes along, we accumulate more and more things for our bag, and the black bag expands and grows larger until it’s so big, it drags along behind us and catches in elevator doors.

When my therapist noted that I’ve been dealing head on with things that frighten me, it fit in so well with David Whyte’s conversation about the black bag. I think it’s possible to stop and open my personal black bag, and begin dealing with those things that have been out of sight and dragging along behind me for far too long.  My bag is quite full and contains memories of past traumas, phobias, nightmares, people who’ve hurt me, gossiped about me, personal failures, mental health issues, abandonment, grief, rejection, bullying, lies, abuse, and plenty more.

So, I’m curious … what themes are you seeing your life? And what things have you put into your black bag?

~Debi

Grandma …

I’m sad to announce that my 107-year-old grandmother, Madeline L. Taylor, passed away last week. When my dad saw her last, she’d been sleeping peacefully. A peaceful passing was what we’d wished for her.

She led a long, full, and interesting life. If you’re curious, you can read an Oral History report I did on her life for a class at University of Washington Tacoma several years ago. I made the report into a small website, so that Grandma’s life could have a presence on the internet.

She was much loved and will be greatly missed.

~Debi

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Anxiety attacks …

Yesterday I had a full blown anxiety/panic attack.

But I can happily say it’s been almost a year since I’d experienced one. None at all. And I’d been having them daily (or more). Life fell apart two years ago and I’ve pretty much spent the past two years trying to rebuild myself, my health, and my life.

Anyway, I was feeling good about how long I’d been panic attack free. And then, WHAM-O! Another anxiety attack hit in the same afternoon. So I planned a quiet evening at home watching something funny on TV. And lots of mindfulness.

And breathing. Breathing’s always good.

One reason I wanted to start posting on this blog again is that I’ve been learning a lot lately about caring for my health (mental, physical, emotional) and I thought perhaps some of the things I’m learning may be helpful to others.

For example, someone may not have anxiety attacks, but they might deal with social anxiety.  Or nervousness speaking in front of a classroom.  Or … ?  There are so many anxiety-riddled events in our lives.  I’m finding that things I learn for dealing with my more severe symptoms are also helpful in similar — but less severe — experiences, as well.

I may add something to the About Me page detailing a little bit about my journey the past two years so I don’t have to repeat myself.  Then I can just include a link in future posts for new readers.  Whatever I write about it, though, will probably be pretty vague.  I try to be careful about not sharing things online about other people that could cause readers to think poorly of them, and because the events deal with people who were close to me, I want to respect them and not share details about their lives that I know they wouldn’t want me to share.  There are always multiple sides to every story, and since this is my blog, I’ll share my story and avoid sharing others’.

Okay, onward and upward.  Have to go do dishes.  🙂

~Debi

PS:  I’m going to include a photo with each post, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with the post.  This is a street in Tacoma, Washington.   The Grand Cinema is a little independent theater (to the left) that I go to fairly often, and the tables on the sidewalk are for a cute little coffeeshop where I usually go either before or after seeing a film.  So I’m well acquainted with this corner.